Delicious and fluffy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls topped with a cream cheese frosting, then filled with a cinnamon, brown sugar, and pecan filling. This quick and easy recipe will become your favorite dessert after the first bite!
Table Of Contents
Best Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Recipe Details
A lot of people love Cinnabon, but I think this recipe is even better! These homemade Cinnamon Rolls are absolutely scrumptious.
- TASTE: These pastries have a delicious mix of sweet brown sugar, nutty pecans, and rich cream cheese frosting.
- TEXTURE: Layers of flaky pastry topped with creamy, thick frosting, these rolls are soft and fluffy.
- TIME: This recipe takes about 2 1/2 hours to make.
- EASE: Making delicious homemade Cinnamon Rolls takes some time, but this recipe has easy to follow directions and images so they’re made perfect every time.
What You’ll Need
For the Cinnamon Rolls
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- Yeast- This is what gives these rolls their fluffy, flaky layers. Yeast provides the air that keeps baked goods from being dense.
- Pecans- For a nutty crunch, this ingredient gives your Cinnamon Rolls an extra bit of texture and flavor that complements the fluffy dough and creamy frosting.
- Cream cheese- This is what makes the frosting so creamy and delicious. It acts as a thickener, but also adds lots of richness, too.
- Powdered sugar- For a sweet, smooth finish, this fine grain sugar is perfect for icing.
Add-ins and Substitutions
- Substitute a different icing- You can also make these Best Homemade Cinnamon Rolls topped with vanilla icing, caramel sauce, maple syrup, or a fruit compote.
- Add maple syrup- For added flavor, add pure maple syrup into the filling or icing. It tastes so good with the vanilla, brown sugar, and pecan flavors.
- Make them gluten-free- Use gluten-free flour 1:1 in this recipe to make it a gluten-free dessert.
- Substitute instant yeast- If you don’t have active dry yeast, you can use the instant kind instead. Just be aware it usually takes less time.
How to Make the Best Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
This is a quick recipe rundown. For the full detailed recipe, scroll down to the printable recipe card.
- Froth the yeast. Warm the milk in a large measuring cup to 110 degrees Fahrenheit and then add the sugar. Stir, add the yeast, and then let it sit in a warm place until it becomes frothy (about 12 minutes).
- Mix dough ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, salt, sugar, eggs, yeast mixture, and melted butter. Mix on low for a few seconds, then add the vanilla extract.
- Pick up the speed. Using the hook attachment, set the speed to medium-high until all of the dough is combined and it is no longer sticking to the sides of the mixing bowl.
- Let it rise. Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit in a warm palace for 1 hour, until the dough is soft and slightly sticky.
- Make the filling. Meanwhile, beat the softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together with an electric mixer. Set aside.
- Roll out the dough. Once the dough is done rising, transfer it to a lightly floured surface and roll it out to a 24 x 16-inch rectangle. Add a little flour on top to keep the rolling pin from sticking to the dough.
- Spread the filling. Evenly spread the filling onto the dough. Then add the chopped pecans on top of the filling. Roll up the dough into a log shape beginning with the longer side.
- Cut the rolls. Slice the log into 2-inch pieces using either a knife or thread.
Pro Tip: When it comes to cutting the rolls, I prefer a thread over a knife since it gives a cleaner cut. Slide the string or thread under the roll, then wrap around and pull and cut through the dough.
- Let the cinnamon rolls rise. Line a 9×13 inch baking dish with greased parchment paper and place the rolls inside. Let the dough rise in a warm place until the dough doubles in size (about 30 minutes). You can place any extra pieces that won’t fit into the baking dish in a loaf pan.
- Bake. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- Make the icing. While the rolls are baking, blend the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, Half & Half, and vanilla in a bowl.
- Ice the rolls. Once the rolls are baked, generously spread the cream cheese icing on top.
- Let the dough rise to add fluffiness- The dough will be soft and slightly sticky after an hour of rising, which is good. That will produce a nice fluffy roll.
- Use softened butter for the filling- To help the filling remain creamy and not runny, use softened butter instead of melted. This will give it more structure.
- Chop the pecans small- To keep your homemade Cinnamon Rolls from being lumpy, chop the pecans into small pieces so you get a little nutty crunch in each bite.
- Use higher fat milks- The milk and Half & Half in this recipe add richness to the dough and creaminess to the frosting. Lower fat milks will be too watery here.
Make the dough the day before you need them. After you spread on the cinnamon and pecan filling, roll the dough and cut them into individual pieces. Then place them into a baking dish and refrigerate until the next morning. Let them come to room temperature before you bake them.
Yes, the icing can be frozen for up to 3 months. Just allow it to thaw in the refrigerator, then let it sit out until it comes to room temperature before spreading it on the Cinnamon Rolls.
These Cinnamon Rolls make a great dessert, snack, or breakfast. Here are some ways you can serve them.
- Breakfast: If you’re setting these out for breakfast, pair them with Brioche French Toast, Bacon and Hash Brown Quiche, Blueberry Breakfast Crepe, and Crispy Air Fryer Bacon.
- Coffee: These Cinnamon Rolls would be delicious with a Pumpkin Spice Latte or Iced Caramel Macchiato.
- Milk: A glass of cold mix is also a great way to serve these!
Make These Homemade Cinnamon Rolls in Advance
Make ahead: Yes. You can make these rolls the day before but don’t bake them. Place them in the fridge overnight and bake the next day. You don’t want to have them sit longer than that. The dough will continue to rise and the yeast can go bad.
Storing: Store leftover Homemade Cinnamon Rolls covered at room temperature for up to 2 days, and up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Freeze: Make sure to cover your Homemade Cinnamon Rolls really well. They can last up to 2 months in the freezer. Prior to baking them, you will want to allow them to thaw in the fridge. Then once they are thawed out, you can bake them.
More Tasty Pastries!
Watch Recipe VIDEO here
Full Recipe Instructions
Best Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
Brown sugar cinnamon filling
- Warm the milk in a large measuring cup to 110 degrees Fahrenheit and add 2 tablespoons of sugar. Give it a quick stir then add the yeast. Let it sit in a warm place until it becomes frothy (about 12 minutes)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add flour, salt, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 eggs, yeast mixture, and melted butter. Set the speed to low, just for a few seconds, then add 1 tsp vanilla extract.
- Using the hook attachment, set the speed to medium-high until all of the dough is combined. A good way to know the dough is done is when it no longer sticks to the sides of the mixer bowl.
- Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl (I used olive oil) and cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm palace for 1 hour. The dough will be soft and slightly sticky, that's what you want to see if you want super fluffy rolls.
- Meanwhile, beat together 3/4 cup softened unsalted butter, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1 tbsp cinnamon using an electric mixer. This will be the filling.
- Once the dough is done rising. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and roll it out to a 24 x 16-inch rectangle. Add a little flour on top as needed so the rolling pin doesn't stick to the dough.
- Evenly spread the filling onto the dough. Chop the pecans and spread them on top of the filling. Roll up the dough into a log shape beginning with the longer side.
- Slice the log into 2-inch pieces. You can either use a knife or thin thread. I prefer to use thread, as it gives a cleaner cut.
- Line a 9×13 inch baking dish with greased parchment paper and place the rolls inside. Let the dough rise in a warm place one last time until the dough doubles in size (about 30 minutes depending on temperature). You may have a few extra pieces that won't fit into the baking dish, just place them in a loaf pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.
- While the rolls are baking, in a bowl blend cream cheese, 1/2 cup butter, powdered sugar, half & half, and 1 tsp vanilla.
- Once the rolls are baked, generously spread the cream cheese spread on top.
- MAKE AHEAD: If you want to make these in advance, you can refrigerate them overnight before the last rise (so right after you place them in the baking dish). The next morning, let them come to room temperature for about 1 hour. Then bake as instructed in the recipe.
- The Frosting can also be made days in advance and kept in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Baking after freezing: Make sure to cover your unbaked cinnamon rolls really well (plastic wrap and foil). They can last up to 2 months in the freezer. Prior to baking them, you will want to allow them to thaw in the fridge overnight. Then once they are thawed out, you can bake them the same way as instructed above.
This recipe was originally published on Nov 9, 2015, we have tweaked it a bit since.